Rory McIlroy happy with patient start to the Open

Rory McIlroy admits he has had "about four" hangovers since his runaway US Open victory, but he will not be adding his slow start to the Open to the list.

After three weeks out enjoying his success and then preparing for golf's next major the 22-year-old Northern Irishman, given a huge ovation when his name was called to tee off, fell to two over par after only three holes.



But in the windy conditions McIlroy was happy enough to play the remainder in one under for a 71 that keeps his hopes alive of becoming the youngest winner since Willie Auchterlonie in 1893.



"No hangover," he insisted. "I didn't hit the fairway on the first and it was going to be very difficult to stop it anywhere close to that pin.



"And on three I got a little bit unlucky. I hit the downslope with my tee shot and it ran through the back and into not a great lie.



"I struggled a bit with my speed all day on the greens, but it was a day where you just needed to grind out a score and anywhere around even par was a good start.



"On a day like this - I know better than most people - you can shoot a high number and put yourself out of the golf tournament, so it was nice to go out and shoot a decent score.



"I feel like if you keep it around level par this week you're going to have a good chance.



"The support was great. I probably didn't take it in as much as I could have - I was just trying to concentrate on that first tee shot and get that out of the way.



"But it's fantastic and hopefully I can give them something to shout about.



"I felt relatively calm surprisingly. Usually I do get a few first-tee nerves, but I felt good."



From around 70 feet just off the back edge he three-putted the hole, something he did do in the first 70 holes at Congressional, and it was not until the 453-yard eighth that he had his first birdie from eight feet.



He did drop another shot on the 13th, but his approach to the downwind 426-yard 17th came back down a slope to within 10 feet and set up his second and last birdie.



"I was patient, really patient out there - mentally I was very good," he said.



"I felt I could have hit it in the fairway a bit more. I missed a few and from there you can't really give yourself many chances for birdies.



"I holed a few nice putts for par in the middle of the round and that's what you need to do, especially in majors and when you're in tough conditions like this.



"I don't feel as if I have to do that much differently. I just need to keep it tight and just take your birdies here and there.



"It was definitely a round after the start that could have got away from me and it was nice to hang onto it."



McIlroy and playing partner Ernie Els did not fail to notice the significance of Thomas Bjorn setting the pace on the course where he could not hold onto a three-shot lead in 2003.



"On the 11th tee we're like 'What is he doing? How is he six under par? Fantastic - great to see him doing well.



"It would be a great story if he could get himself into contention again going into Sunday."



Asked if he was now under greater pressure as a major champion McIlroy replied: "It's a nice pressure to have - I'm not complaining.



"I've put myself in this position and it's what I've always wanted to do. If that's the worst complaint that I have I'll be doing all right."



News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments